Love is not resentful. Holding grudges is so 90s. Who really has the time for that? Especially with how busy everyone is, where is the time or the energy to waste on silly junk like that? These are a sampling of my reaction to this phrase. I’ve never been one to hold a grudge. Instead, I’ve always been more of a pushover letting people get away with more than I ought to have. However, just yesterday it came to my attention. Not just one rock, but a whole cargo plane-full of rocks was dumped on my glass house and oh did it shatter. What I found in the rubble was ignoring is far from not resenting.
“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” — Ephesians 4:26–27
Resentment is a bitter weed. I was going for herb, but the truth of the matter is resentment is nothing but a treacherous weed that takes root in the soul and begins wrapping its complicated system of roots around our hearts and slowly but surely suffocating them. What makes resentment so dangerous is that it’s a passive aggressive reaction. It isn’t quite as bold as anger, but like a leak in a dam, builds over time and it’s nearly too late when you do finally notice it. Resentment is a defense mechanism that slowly works its way into our psyche fertilized by past hurt(s) and time. Time is what really allows the mechanism to armor itself and harden our hearts against similar hurts, but really shuts us off to our loved ones and future friends, acquaintances, etc.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” — James 5:16
This is a team sport. There is only one way to avoid this and it is simply to be open and honest with one another about the dirty laundry we all have. This means we have to take the time to slow down and roll up our sleeves with one another. I think we can all agree that there’s a lot to muck through in this life and we don’t need to make it any harder on ourselves. It’s a two step process involving both confession and forgiveness. We have to both come to others when we’ve wronged them and be quick to remember God’s forgiveness of our wrongs when others have mistreated us. We need to let other people in to help and also to better enable us to help ourselves. How else is this going to get done? There is no one that will do this for us, so it’s up to us to initiate this process. Come on, there isn’t any more time to waste.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” — Colossians 3:12–13
Transparency and honesty are scary things, but aren’t the less scary than waking up an old, bitter hermit? Isn’t the potential of getting hurt a few times, but also experiencing giving and receiving true love far outweigh never opening ourselves up to such a possibility? These are the questions we have to ask ourselves and today. These are the questions we have been avoiding, but by avoiding we are merely choosing without giving any option. Is this what we want, or wouldn’t we rather love as it’s not resentful?